Survey: Social and emotional development of children

The project produces research knowledge about SE competence, its delays, difficulties and strengths in toddlerhood.

The project utilizes survey data collected within the framework of a Finnish follow-up study titled Steps to the Healthy Development and Well-Being of Children (the STEPS Study). Close to two thousand children with their families in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland area has been taken part in the longitudinal intensive follow-up study since 2008. The lives of the children has been followed up from pregnancy until school age, already over ten years. The rich survey data including perspectives of different areas of family life were collected using detailed questionnaires answered by mothers and fathers (or spouses).

The Toddler Study data include:

1) Background information thought to be associated with social emotional development of the children. Such individual and environmental level factors are e.g. child´s gender, family structure, socio-economic status of the family and child rearing in the family and daycare.

2) Information about children´s social and emotional competence in 18 months and 8 years (parental assessment). The SE competence of the children were measured by the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

3) Information about the parts in child development hypothesized to be affected by the social and emotional skills and competences, such as language development and school readiness.

Research questions:

1. Explaining social and emotional competence, delays and difficulties among children. What is the proportion of children with SE risks?

2. How are child´s gender and socioeconomic status of the family associated with delays and difficulties in social and emotional competence?

3. How SE competence is connected to language development in toddlerhood?

4. How SE difficulties at 18 months predict school readiness at preschool and SE development at 8 years? What role does the early childhood education play in children´s SE development from toddlerhood to school age?